last month in January 2016, I made a promise to myself that I would spend at least 30 minutes – 1 hour per day for 15 days, sketching fearlessly by doing a series of loose, ‘warm up’ sketches, no matter what. I decided to do this with the intention of working on eliminating any self-doubt and fear to create, and to develop a productive and empowering daily sketch/drawing habit before focusing on anything else.
I thought that by doing this first thing in the morning, I would have completed the absolute minimum amount of art for the day without allowing any procrastination, resistance, fear, or other distractions to influence me. I would have jumped over that initial hurdle that seems to be the most difficult to overcome for all artists, especially as the day goes on.
I saw this as an easily attainable short-term goal to work towards, so long as I maintained some level of discipline and focus. If I managed to complete the task for 15 days, I would plan to continue the 15-days of sketching fearlessly, and check my progress over a longer period of time. I could then use my success as a motivation to work towards more difficult art challenges/goals, creating new positive art habits, which would assist in helping me to overcome any fear to create.
So i completed my first 15 days! I used an online random pose generator and timer called ‘Quickposes’ www.quickposes.com which selects from a library of photography in either ‘pose’ (full figure), ‘face’, or ‘hands’ so that I could quickly create gesture drawings and facial expressions. I have also been using the ‘Toggl’ app to track and time my progress. And I made sure my phone and social media were switched off.
I sketched all of the poses digitally using the ‘dull conte’ brush in Corel Painter. I have found Corel Painter to be the best software choice to use for digital sketching, compared to Adobe Photoshop, as Painter has better drawing/sketch tools in my opinion which more closely imitate real pencils and other traditional drawing materials.
After i completed a minimum of 30 minutes (sometimes I went over 1 hour) of a series of quick gesture/expression sketches between 30 seconds – 300 seconds, I then went an organised most of them together to fit nicely into a sketch collage in Corel Painter by scaling down and moving them all into an interesting composition.
After just a few days of doing these sketches, I started to notice more fluidity in my work. I could feel myself getting a little bit better as I completed the task each day. I also found that when I started drawing early on, literally minutes after waking up, sometimes before drinking a coffee or eating any breakfast, I developed a higher level of confidence, inspiration and motivation to create more art.
But i did find this to be more enjoyable with a strong cup of coffee, a fresh juice, a good pair of headphones and music to listen to. What a way to wake up!
I found this to be a fun and beneficial warm-up exercise to do. I wonder what the benefits could be if I continued this over a longer period? Would I dramatically improve my sketching ability? What if I allowed more time for each sketch? What if I tried this exercise traditionally in a physical sketchbook and compared with my digital work? What if I combined the two?
For now, I am going to continue this challenge digitally, and I will begin another 15-day goal of sketching fearlessly soon.
You can also set yourself some easily attainable goals and begin by taking action first thing when you wake up in the morning. Even if it is just for 10 minutes, if you persist every day for the period of time you are aiming for, you will build momentum, and begin to feel much better about yourself, your confidence will grow and your skill level and learning will improve. You can then work towards completing more challenging goals. And then build on from them!
Here are the sketches of my first 15 days;
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